Shoppable raises $3.5M to build a universal shopping cart — and help publishers make money

E-commerce startup Shoppable is announcing that it has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding.

The New York City-based startup offers several products that allow publishers and consumers to take advantage of what founder and CEO Heather Marie calls “shoppable moments” — those times when you read about a product or see it featured in a photo or video and, if it was easy enough, you’d probably consider buying it right then and there.

The basic idea isn’t that different from affiliate networks, where webpages link to merchant websites where readers can buy the products mentioned, with publishers getting a cut of the revenue.

With Shoppable, however, readers don’t have to leave the publisher’s website — they can browse the inventory of multiple retailers and make the purchase right there. It’s a shopping cart that can theoretically travel with you to any website.

“The whole checkout process stays within [the publisher’s] website,” Marie said. She added that in addition to providing “a much more seamless experience,” this approach also gives publishers more data about visitors and their shopping habits. “This is really changing the game from the data perspective. All of our customers understand that the more data they have about what’s selling from their own sites, the better they understand their user base.”

Shoppable products include a Google Chrome extension for individuals — the extension scans a webpage for products mentioned and allows you to buy those products through Shoppable. Publishers, meanwhile, can install Shoppable widgets throughout their website and curate exactly what products they want to sell, or they can use Shoppable’s Magic technology, which creates shopping options automatically.

The Series A comes was led by an unidentified investor — Marie said this was more of a strategic investment (Shoppable was already profitable), and that there will be a bigger announcement with this yet-to-be-named investor in the months to come. MI Ventures, Canary Ventures, On Grid Ventures, Thomas Varghese, Bodley Group, John D. Owen, Noopur Shukla, Andrew Boszhardt Jr., Sandeep Bhanote and others also participated in the round.

Among other things, Shoppable plans to use the funding to bring additional retailers into the system. The company says it has already integrated with more than 200 merchants, but there are still 100-plus on the waiting list.

Shoppable was initially called 72Lux, a name meant to reflect its focus on luxury goods, before taking the name of its universal checkout product.